Natural gas better than diesel for machinery

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Natural gas motors would make farming more efficient and sustainable by lowering production costs and carbon emissions, says former Saskatchewan premier Grant Devine.

He predicts a shift to natural gas motors in vehicles of all types over the next few years as the world looks for ways to enhance food security and decrease its dependence on oil.

A food secure world needs to be a more efficient world, he said, and fuel savings are key.

Natural gas has dropped below $2 per gigajoule while oil prices have generally continued to rise.

“I can see no theoretical economic justification for natural gas to track oil anymore,” he told the Farming For Profit conference in Moose Jaw.

Devine still ranches and has had interests in energy companies, including a natural gas company in Alberta that shut down its wells because the price is too low.

He sees natural gas taking over from diesel the way diesel took over from gasoline in the 1960s and 1970s.

“We have no end of natural gas,” he said.

Motors that use the fuel emit 30 percent less carbon than regular engines, he said.

As the world looks for cleaner energy and more food, the application in agriculture is a natural fit.

“I think in the next five years you’re going to see natural gas in a lot more motors, not only in trucks but in large engines and with capacity of 500 horsepower,” Devine said.

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